A special court here on Thursday granted the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) a 60-day extension to file an indictment in the cruise drug case, in which Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, is a defendant.
The investigative agency had filed a motion before Special Judge VV Patil on Monday, asking for a 90-day extension to file an indictment in the case since the investigation into the high-profile case was still ongoing.
However, the judge, after hearing arguments from prosecution and defense attorneys, gave the investigative agency an additional 60 days to file an indictment in the case.
The NCB, through a special prosecutor, had argued there were “compelling reasons” for seeking the extension.
Aryan Khan was named as a defendant in the case along with 19 others by the NCB last year.
The 24-year-old was arrested by the NCB on October 3 last year, following a raid on a cruise ship off Mumbai. The accused persons were arrested under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) for possession, consumption, alleged sale/purchase of prohibited drugs, conspiracy and aiding and abetting, among others.
The investigative agency claimed that chemical examination reports of the 17 samples were received on March 12, which proved that all contraband recovered during the raid was narcotics/psychotropics.
The central investigative agency said some of the defendants are highly influential people and have incriminating conversations with foreign nationals, who are also outside India. A review of those discussions is ongoing as foreign nationals are involved, he said.
Due to the severe situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country from November 2021 to February 2022, the response from foreign agencies was delayed, according to the plea.
Seeking time to file an indictment, the BCN, in its plea, claimed that the investigation is almost complete with respect to six defendants, as their role is closely intertwined and interconnected.
The review and recording of voluntary statements of KP Gosavi, the main panch witness, during the two recoveries made on October 2, 2021, is not complete as he is in judicial custody in other cases, he said. precise.
Furthermore, the BCN said that the second panch witness – Prabhakar Sail – became hostile and his alleged affidavit in this regard is still pending in court. So, in such a situation, the examination of Gosavi becomes necessary and essential to find out the true and correct facts of this case.
Of the 20 defendants arrested in the case, only two – Abdul Kadar and Chinedu Igwe – are currently in judicial custody and the others are out on bail.
Opposing the investigative agency’s plea, Kadar’s attorney, Kushal Mor, argued that the investigative agency only filed the request to keep him behind bars.
Furthermore, he argued that there was no “justifiable reason” for requesting the extension.
Appearing for Igwe, lawyer Ayaz Khan argued that they were “handicapped” due to the failure to provide the report submitted to the court by the prosecution.
“My right of expression is affected,” he added.
According to the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), the drug law enforcement agency was supposed to file the indictment in the October 2021 case within 180 days of the arrest of the accused. If the indictment is not filed within the stipulated time, the accused may apply for bail by default in accordance with the provisions of the CrPC.
In the event that a prosecuting agency needs more time, the CrPC allows it to request an extension of up to 90 additional days to file such a document.
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